Brigiiiiitte!

VichyMint1When I came upon this mint gingham at the Stoffenspektakel with my partner in crime, I immediately thought of making it into a matching blouse and skirt.

I knew the skirt would be a simple gathered one with giant patch pockets, because you do not change a winning team, but I dithered on the question of the blouse. At first I wanted to make a Mélilot, then thinking I could wear it tied at the waist made me think about Camille’s versions of  this Burda model I had in my stash, and then I remembered Gertie’s pattern, Butterick B5895,  which I also had in my stash (is there a pattern I do not have in my stash, that is the question!), and the deal was done!

VichyMint3I went in search of reviews of the pattern, and a lot of them warned about the surprising amount of ease. I took a look at the finished measurements and chose to cut a size 6 instead of between a size 10 and 12 as the body measurements would have had me cut. Now, the ease wouldn’t have worried me so much was I going to use a drapier fabric, but with this light but stiff gingham I thought it would be wiser to go down a few sizes for fear of getting a much boxier blouse than I intended.

Another thing I read in a lot of reviews was that the blouse was very short. Once again I referred to the finished garment measurements (I also measured the length of the pattern pieces just to be sure) and I decided against modifying the length. But it’s true, the blouse is indeed very short: I suspect I am very high waisted and it falls right at my natural waist.

VichyMint4The pattern only has four pieces, but man do some of them look weird! The only tricky part to sew is the collar, for which you need to be very precise in your cutting, marking and sewing, and I found the instructions perfectly clear.

One thing that worried me was that the grainline does not run parallel to the centre front line, so I had to ignore the grainline on the front pieces for the plaid to be straight on the button bands. Fortunately, this did not cause any problem in the end, phew! The grainline isn’t parallel with the centre back either and I actually like the effect there, but I know it would have bugged me to no end if the gingham didn’t run parallel with the edge of the button bands in the front.

VichyMint5When I first tried on the finished blouse minus the buttons/buttonholes, I realized that going down two sizes and a half meant I should evidently have lowered the darts. So I set out to unpick the side seams and lower the darts by about 3/4’’. I think it was well worth the effort: here’s the before and the after.

After that all I had to do was add the buttons and buttonholes (actually not that easy when you want your centre front plaid to match!), and then make the matching skirt!

VichyMint6I don’t have a lot to say about the skirt, it’s yet another simple gathered skirt. Just like for the blouse, I took a lot of time pattern matching. Instead of pinning, I found it easier/faster (still very time-consuming) to baste the pieces together before sewing them. Once again, worth the extra time.

VichyMint2I like my little matching ensemble, but in fact I’m not sure I’ll ever wear the two pieces together. Separately, yes (already have), together, I don’t know. Perhaps it’s a little too over the top? I really don’t know, we’ll see! And worse comes to worst, I’ll still have a cute blouse and a cute skirt!

Enregistrer

Second Serving

Sencha2I sewed a Sencha blouse a little over two years ago, and although I loved the pattern and the look of the finished blouse, after some time I just couldn’t bear the synthetic quality of the fabric anymore. It was sweaty, unbreathable… made worse by the fact that I cycle everywhere, every day! So I ended up donating the blouse and vowed to make another one in a nobler fabric someday.

Sencha1After finishing my Edenham Chelsea dress, I wanted to use up the whole length of Liberty instead of putting it back in my stash for God knows how long. I hesitated between two of my favourite blouse patterns, Tilly’s Mimi and Colette’s Sencha, and the ridiculously small number of pattern pieces of the Sencha tipped the scales toward the latter.

Sencha4I remembered spending a lot of time on hand finishing for my first version of Sencha, because it was said to be impossible to use French seams due to the construction of the blouse, and I didn’t own a serger at the time. So this time I was about to gain a lot of time thanks to my serger, until I stumbled on this article that claimed it was entirely possible to French seam the whole Sencha blouse! I was both too lazy to change the serger thread to black and curious about testing this method, so I decided to try and use French seams instead of serging the blouse.

Sencha7And it worked, so many thanks to the author! 🙂 The only raw edge that was left was the bottom part of the sleeve hem, which I simply folded into a triangle and invisibly hand stitched like the rest of the sleeve hem.

I didn’t follow the instructions of the pattern for the back opening: I didn’t sew it right sides together as per the instructions, but folded and pressed it wrong sides together (with the seam allowances of the top part folded inside), then hand stitched the top part closed at the same time as the rest of the button band. I think that’s what I did on my first version, too.

Sencha6

Front and back

I’m delighted with the finishing of this blouse! I used black interfacing so it wouldn’t risk showing through and finished the facings with some narrow green bias tape I had in my stash.

The buttons I had to buy. I chose pale yellow ones that closely match the yellow flowers of the print and pop out against the black background.

I almost forgot that it wasn’t included in the pattern, but the peter pan collar was drafted the first time I made the blouse, following Gertie’s tutorial (also in her book).

Sencha5I sewed the same size as the first time but I think the fit is better on this one, because I didn’t sew the side seams as high up as the first time. I stopped at the bottom of the sleeve hem instead of at the pattern marking. I didn’t feel constricted in my first version, but it does look better from the back!

It’s rare that I don’t have anything to nitpick on something I’ve made, but this is one of those occurrences where I don’t have anything negative to say about the finished garment! A fabric I love, a pattern I love with bonus peter pan collar — what’s not to like?

Sencha3

The Clue of the Lady In Blue

NancyDrew1Like a lot of people who sew, there are many times when I finish a garment, vow to make another one because I like it so much… and then promptly forget about it.

So when I told you about how much I liked my first Ondée and how I was definitely going to sew other ones, I was conscious that, even though I intended to hold my promise, there was a good chance I’d be swayed by the next shiny new pattern and never keep my word.

NancyDrew3But lo and behold, I did keep my word on this one! And the Ondée sweater is such a fast sew that I actually made two in one afternoon! I’m showing you the first one today, a blue one with white collar, which is also the one I have been wearing non stop since its completion. The main fabric is a cotton/lycra knit from eBay seller Tia Knight. The collar fabric is the same I used on my first Ondée. Looking back at that post, I realise I forgot to mention that I had bought both mint and white jersey knits at the Stoffenspektakel, where you always find loads of high quality cotton/lycra jersey knits in every colour of the rainbow! I also forgot to mention the size I made: a 36, my usual bust/waist size for Deer&Doe patterns.

Like for the first one, I serged the whole top except for the collar (I didn’t feel like changing the serger thread to white just for the collar!), for which I used a zigzag stitch. Once again, I topstitched under the collar with a zigzag stitch.

NancyDrew4The skirt is also a repeat! It’s another version of this skirt I love and wear so much, based on the tutorial in Gertie’s book (also available on her blog). I don’t know how I managed that since I seem to remember I measured the waist of the first version, but the waist is a little bit looser than that of my first one. I intend to insert a small piece of elastic at the back to remedy that, but me and alterations, you know how it goes…

It’s a question of an inch, so the skirt is perfectly wearable as is, but it doesn’t stay in place as well as a skirt with zero ease at the waist.

NancyDrew5Despite that little flaw, I love that skirt so much and have been wearing it accordingly. Did you notice the print? It’s a Nancy Drew print! It’s from a discontinued Moda Fabrics line. As one of Nancy Drew’s biggest fans when I was a kid (while we’re at it, did you know that, in French, her name was “translated” to Alice Roy and she is widely known as Alice détective?), I couldn’t pass up this fabric when I found it three years ago at de Stoffenkamer. I bought it with the intention of making this exact skirt! I cut (more like, tore!) the pockets from the remnants so as not to waste any scrap that could be used. The fabric was narrow enough that I could use the whole width on each skirt panel… including the selvedges!

A note about the fabric: it has that very weird smell (almost, I don’t know… fungusy?) when being ironed. I thought this was maybe due to a storage problem of some sort, but it’s been washed quite a few times already and the smell is still going strong every time it gets ironed, so I’ve come to think it’s probably the dye itself that’s to blame. Luckily, it doesn’t smell at all once it’s cold!

NancyDrew2This outfit is nothing complicated, but I have been wearing it a lot these past few weeks. When the weather was a little bit warmer, I wore it mostly with this cardigan, and these days it’s finally been cold enough to pull this one out the wardrobe. It’s an outfit that I think is both cute and easy to wear. I won’t promise anything, but I’d really like a few duplicate versions!

Hello Polka Dot Skirt!

PolkaDots1Aaand here it is! Not the most complicated project, but I like the result very much!

I had been meaning to sew myself a skirt like that for years, but you know, so many ideas, so little time… The fabric is actually one of the firsts I ever bought! I had already sewn a skirt with it, which I wore a lot, but I’ve gotten more used to high waisted skirts (and pockets!) so I had been wearing it less and less and meaning to replace it with a new one.

PolkaDots2After sewing my modified Sureau, I was in desperate need of a simple project, one that I could complete in a day or two. I contemplated sewing a tote bag, then I set my mind on that gathered skirt. While I do need a (few) tote bag(s), getting a new skirt was much more tempting!

PolkaDots3The skirt itself took me a day but I decided to put off sewing the pockets to the next day so as not to rush things and make a mess out of them. And I must have made the right choice because everything went smoothly as can be; I didn’t use the seam ripper even once! Even the zipper went in without a hitch (okay, it’s not the most difficult kind, but still!).

PolkaDots5I used Gertie’s book to make the skirt pattern, but you can find the same information on her blog (part onepart two). For the pockets I followed A Fashionable Stitch’s tutorial. Both Gertie’s and this one were very clear and easy to follow and yielded great results.

PolkaDots7I’m really happy with the buttons: big ones on the pockets, small ones at the waistband. They’re from Gotex, one of my favourite fabric stores in Brussels, from a €1 bin full of old dusty button cards. The two buttonholes that close the waistband are a touch too small for the buttons, but at least they feel secure and they were parallel and the same size as each other, so I didn’t bother remaking them.

PolkaDots6I haven’t worn the skirt yet (I always fear if I wear a garment I haven’t photographed yet it will get ruined before I can take the pictures or something), but I’m pretty sure it will get in heavy rotation as it’s the kind of skirt I can see myself wearing both with or without tights, which means I can wear it all year long. I guess you’ll see it again soon with Me-Made-May coming up!

PolkaDots4

Sketchbook: Polka Dot Skirt

PolkaDotsThis skirt has actually been finished for more than a week, but I couldn’t muster the courage to draw before today. As for the courage to take pictures, well, I’m still looking for it. Thankfully I’m on holiday at the moment, so it shouldn’t be too long before I find it.

It’s a simple gathered skirt (following the explanations in Gertie’s book) to which I added cute pockets per this great tutorial. I have to say the result is much prettier in real life than on my poor little drawing. Better that than the contrary, right?

Romancing the Blouse

Green1

Looks nice untucked…

I love green. A few months ago, I realised that, every time I had to pick between various colours of yarn or fabric, I chose the green one. A few random people also asked me what the deal was with me and green and why did I wear so much of it (people tend to ask me the strangest questions!). Maybe it’s just that a lot of people do not wear green at all, because it’s not like I was dressed in green from head to toe or every day or whatever, I swear, but still, it made me realise I should try to avoid adding more green to my wardrobe. I think it has to do with the fact that my everyday jacket and shawl are green, so when I add a green garment to my outfit, that’s already three green pieces.

Green2

Looks nice tucked in!

Anyway, after knitting my green Miette cardigan, I decided not to sew or knit any green piece for some time. But now it’s been long enough, I think I’ve earned the right to sew myself some green!

Green3I got this beautiful fabric from the great swap organised by Saki at the beginning of September. I first debated taking it home with me (I was on a green ban and it was synthetic), but its drape finished convincing me.

It was not easy to sew, but I must say I love the result! You can see that the shoulder seams are a little bit wavy, but nothing really noticeable unless you’re looking for it specifically. The worse with this fabric was the way the colour faded everywhere I put even a (silk!) pin, I’m not even talking about covering the buttons! Yet again, I don’t think anyone will notice but me.

Green4The pattern is the Sencha blouse by Colette Patterns, with a peter pan collar I drafted following Gertie’s very clear instructions (in her book, but you can find them here on video). The pattern itself was not difficult to sew at all (it’s beginner level), only time consuming because I had to sew a lot by hand: partly (the sleeve hem and back openings) following the instructions, partly (overcasting the side seams and stitching the hem) because of the nature of the fabric and because I don’t own a serger.

Green5I chose version 1 for the front (the plain one, so that I could add a collar), and version 2 for the back (I wanted, no, needed the button back), in size zero. I chose the size according to my measurements, without checking beforehand (a what? A muslin you say? Interesting!), then I realised after tracing and cutting everything out that, ahem, it seems like I put on a tiny bit of weight during my two months summer holiday where I stopped biking everywhere every day, oops!

Green6Knowing I had chosen this simple project to get back on my feet after my last project flew out the window (or down the trash to be exact), I was kind of bummed, to say the least. But I decided to complete the project nonetheless, after all I’m biking again, so it shouldn’t be too long until I lose that damn holiday weight!

Green7And, who would have thought, the completed blouse does fit! I’ve already lost part of the unwelcome weight (yay biking!), and my Sencha is closer fitting than many versions I’ve seen, but I really like it that way. The upper back may be a touch too tight, but here’s hoping it won’t be anymore after a few more weeks of biking!

Now all I need is to sew myself a jacket or a coat of a different colour (and knit an assorted shawl or scarf) to avoid the monochrome look!